Friday, May 27, 2011


An annual "inspection" is just that - an inspection.  The results of the inspection usually require some actions.

I have a sticker on my crane noting that it was inspected within the year and as far as I am concerned, I am in compliance with OSHA.

Some new customers have come into our shop with annual inspection stickers from independent “Inspection Services”, but aside from a lengthy checklist indicating visually inspected items and deficiencies noted, they have no paperwork from the inspector indicating that the deficiencies were corrected. OSHA is very specific on the “comprehensiveness” of the annual inspection and the steps to take in regards to correcting deficiencies that are noted in the annual inspection, which includes taking the crane out of service for safety related issues until the correction is made.  Be aware that not all “Annual Inspections” are equal.  If you have your crane inspected and an inspection sticker slapped onto it but the deficiencies have not been corrected, your sticker and your “Annual Inspection” are worthless. The information that is generated from an inspection needs the direction of the crane owner to repair or replace the crane or to take it out of service until repairs can be made. The “inspection” is only half of the requirement! If your crane has been inspected and is not operating as designed with all safety equipment in place, you are not in compliance with OSHA.

Compromised Pin the Inspector Missed
 Many crane owners mistake an inspection sticker for a clean bill of crane health. We have even heard of crane owners buying inspection stickers to put on their cranes themselves. From time to time, we hear from customers who say they have decided to use an independent inspection service because they don’t seem to find many things wrong with their cranes while the inspectors at Runnion Equipment Company do! At Runnion, the factory trained technicians who inspect your cranes are also the same people who operate, maintain and repair the cranes in our rental fleet every day!  They certainly do find things wrong or things that are going wrong which other inspectors miss!  For a crane owner to pick his inspection company based on how little an inspector finds wrong makes little sense.

Think of the annual inspection as a doctor’s physical. Personally, I want my doctor to tell me all the things that he finds wrong with me, discuss his findings with me and finally let me decide how I choose to take action. If he only takes my temperature and checks my pulse, I don’t know if that qualifies as a physical, on the other hand, if I do get a full and complete physical and yet I take no action at all based on the doctors’ advice, what was the point of the physical? No matter how complete the physical, in the end it only tells you what needs to be addressed – so too with your annual crane inspection.

Note however that OSHA requires you to maintain and retain the annual inspection forms for a minimum of 12 months (see page 85).  Think about it - you will be required to produce the inspection forms if (when) OSHA asks for them. So, if you have had your crane inspected and operational safety related deficiencies have been noted on the inspection form and you choose not to repair those items and a failure/accident takes place, the first thing OSHA will do is to ask to see the inspection form and when you give it to them, you will have just handed them solid proof that you deliberately decided not to address a documented safety issue.

The attorneys will have the next shot at your paperwork.

The intent of OSHA with the inspection process is to ensure that your equipment is operating properly and safely so that your employees, other trades and the general public are not endangered during the use of your equipment. Getting your crane inspected and not repairing documented deficiencies is contrary to this policy.


As part of the services we offer at Runnion Equipment Company, we keep track of our customers’ annual inspection dates and call or otherwise contact them to remind them at least 30 days in advance when their cranes are due for inspection. We have noticed that certain of our customers are electing to delay or forgo their annual / comprehensive OSHA inspections. Reasons we have heard tend to lean toward the economy. Contractors aren’t busy so their crane use may be down or they may actually have a spare unit sitting idle in the yard. Sometimes the cost of the inspection and related repairs seem to be a line item they feel they can sacrifice as a result of their budget cutting. It is a bad idea – pure and simple.

Why do I need an “annual inspection” on my boom truck?

According to our research as well as our personal experience as crane owners, annual maintenance cost for a boom truck should average between 3%-5% of the purchase price of the crane (not including the truck chassis) per year.

A $100,000 National Crane series 800D for example, will end up costing approximately $3000-$5,000 per year which includes routine maintenance and repair or replacement of wear and tear items.

Should maintenance not be performed yearly, the repair cost will likely carry over to the next year. Broken parts and leaky hydraulics rarely seem to fix themselves over time.

While it is the responsibility of boom truck owners to manage the day-to-day maintenance of their equipment and perform (and document) daily, weekly and monthly inspections, a thorough yearly inspection by trained and competent Runnion technicians will point out developing or hidden maintenance issues and give you the chance to have them corrected before they become emergency field breakdowns - a crane stuck in air with the operator, signalman, maybe a roofing crew and subcontractors standing around waiting can be big dollar item – particularly when you add in contractor backcharges and legal costs (if applicable!).

Outside of this “regular maintenance” aspect, safety is the actual number one issue and the annual / comprehensive inspection is a requirement of OSHA.

The new OSHA standards for Cranes and Derricks details the “Annual/Comprehensive” inspection requirements in section 1926.1412 paragraph (f) – the list is truly, quite comprehensive and includes a requirement for “disassembly as necessary” (see page 81). The penalties for noncompliance can be hefty and can only multiply if an accident occurs and you do not have proof of your annual inspection and the repairs that were completed to bring the boom truck and its safety equipment into proper operation.

These then are the three reasons why you need to have your “Annual OSHA Inspection” done;
1) It will save you money in the long run.
2) It will give you peace of mind knowing that your equipment is operating properly and
3) It is required by OSHA – (see number one and two again!)